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To Captain J. M. Padstowe, 50th Foot - Received on 20th May.

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To Captain J. M. Padstowe, 50th Foot - Received on 20th May.

Post  Jonathan Padstowe on Thu Mar 12, 2009 2:31 am

‘Delaware, Edenbridge
10th May, ‘09

My Dear Jonathan,

I am not quite sure why I have chosen to write this letter. I can only imagine that it must be a sense of personal guilt, seeing as since we last spoke there has been nothing but a resounding silence from you, though your family have written often. Sarah has been to see me several times in the past few months; her general health does well, as does the baby, yet her concern for your welfare has grown with every visit. I am unsure what conclusion to draw from this, but in such a situation I can only begin to suspect that in part it may be my fault, and therefore implore you to break your silence and write – if not for my sake than for hers. In all the years I have known you I have never thought you to be cruel, and I should hate for you to become so as a result of my actions or whatever other reason there may be, for I do not flatter myself for a moment into thinking that I am the sole cause of your reticence. I may have called you daft in the past, but you are not stupid.

That said, I only suppose I am left to try and lessen my own guilt, as is the selfish nature of such letters. On reflection – and I have had many months to reflect on the matter, Jonathan - I believe I may not have clearly explained my reasons for refusing you. Let me set assure you that it was not due to defect of your character or physiology; in those respects you are as desirable as any man might be – the defect, I find, is within myself. As you are aware I have been a confirmed spinster for many years, only slightly longer than your have been a confirmed bachelor, and have long since given up any hope or inclination to marry, so it is only natural that I look upon any offer of matrimony with a deep scrutiny, even an offer from so old and dear a friend as yourself – and having examined your offer, or in the manner in which it was given, I was led to believe that you did not mean what you said.

To make things a little clearer, as ever with any circumstance you viewed it as a problem for which you needed a quick solution; your marital status (or more accurately your lack of it) was the problem, and I was the solution. I believe that at the time of your proposal you were convinced that it was what you wanted, but in truth I also believe that you had failed to grasp the full implications of such a proposal; you asked, but you did not mean it. Had you meant what you said, I admit that perhaps I may have accepted you, yet I also recognise now that for us it is too late.

So I ask again; even if you will not write to me or your mother, please write to Sarah. She at least is still deserving of your love, and seeks to be assured of your continuing safety.

Affectionate Regards,

Elizabeth.’

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